In collaboration with art critic Rob Perrée, Readytex Art Gallery has developed a new, informative initiative: An Eye for Art. Once every two weeks Rob Perrée discusses a work of art from the collection of Readytex Art Gallery. This time the art work ‘Mi o luku yu 8339’, print & mixed media on canvas, 93 cm wide x 70 cm high, 2009, by Marcel Pinas.
Many Surinamese know Marcel Pinas (Pelgrimkondre, 1971) for his colorful paintings with (decorative) elements referring to the disappearing Maroon culture – especially to the Afaka script, which was developed and used in his native region in the beginning of the 20th century – but also to different games he used play as a child, symbols of a happy past.
Many also know him for his large installations. In those he usually refers to the dangers threatening the interior (such as environmental pollution) and to the friendly hospitality which is so typical for his people.
Less famous are the drawings he has been making again in recent years – Afaka signs which playfully claim the white space for themselves – and the mixed-media-works such as this one, ‘Mi o luku yu 8339’ from 2009. A detail of a house has been printed on canvas. Probably a home in a Maroon village in the district Marowijne. A house that stands for (his) youth. Why else is that little girl drawn on the left of the door frame? Childlike. In red and yellow. On the door itself, Afaka characters seemingly flutter downwards. Does the falling motion here refer to things getting lost? The largely intact house number does not have the power to stop that from happening.
A little beyond the middle Pinas has painted a larger shape. Bright red and bright blue, in stark contrast to the fading color of the house, yet corresponding to the red of the child. What it is I don’t know. I do know that it demands attention, that it wants to dominate. A youthful memory that must not be forgotten? An elementary monument for the Maroons?
Marcel Pinas wants to give their culture, in essence their pride, back to the Maroons. That is why he stimulates and facilitates all kinds of creative activities for the young people in Moengo, who have more talent than opportunities. That is why he does everything he can to present art in his native region. That is why he makes paintings, drawings and installations which can and should be shown especially abroad, to thus lift his local story to an international level.
TEXT Rob Perrée, New York, April 2014
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2014
Want to take a closer, personal look at this work? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Maagdenstraat 44-upstairs, Paramaribo. www.readytexartgallery.com. For more information about Marcel Pinas please visit the website http://readytexartgallery.com/marcelpinas/.
This edition of An Eye for Art has been sent as a RAG-mailing on May 7, 2014 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on May 7, 2014.
Because really looking at art and understanding art are not always obvious and easy to do, we hope that these regular reviews will at least offer you some insight into the process. You will get to see how a connoisseur looks at art, discusses it, and then links the work to others within the international art world.
Of course you can only truly judge a work of art when you are actually standing in front of it yourself. We therefore hope to see you soon in Readytex Art Gallery and are eager to hear what you think of this artwork, and which other works of art you find yourself drawn to. Please note that the artworks discussed are still available for purchase at the time that the review is published.
Rob Perrée is art historian and works as freelance writer, art critic and curator, specialized in contemporary (Afro-) American art, African art, Surinamese art and art using new media. His work has appeared in countless catalogues, books, magazines and newspapers. He is editor of Sranan Art Xposed, editor in chief of Africanah.org and a member of the editing team of Pf Photo Magazine. His website: http://robperree.com.